Mathieu van der Poel: I'm better prepared for 'cross return than I was last year

OTEGEM BELGIUM JANUARY 13 Mathieu Van Der Poel of The Netherlands and AlpecinFenix Team during the 52nd Internationale Betafence CX Otegem 2020 Men Elite UCICX Otegem on January 13 2020 in Otegem Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
Van der Poel in action at Otegem during the 2019-20 'cross season (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) has spoken about his return to cyclo-cross racing at the weekend, saying he feels better than he did upon his restart in 2019 despite starting his 'cross campaign over a month later this time around.

The Dutchman won't race against long-time rival Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) for the first time until the Namur World Cup on December 20 but will face Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) and World Cup leader Michael Vanthourenhout in two races at the weekend – the X2O Trofee in Antwerp and Superprestige Gavere.

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Dani Ostanek
Senior News Writer

Dani Ostanek is Senior News Writer at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired full-time. Prior to joining the team, they had written for numerous major publications in the cycling world, including CyclingWeekly and Rouleur.

 

Dani has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, World Championships, and the spring Classics. They have interviewed many of the sport's biggest stars, including Mathieu van der Poel, Remco Evenepoel, Demi Vollering, and Anna van der Breggen.

 

As well as original reporting, news and feature writing, and production work, Dani also oversees How to Watch guides and works on The Leadout newsletter throughout the season. Their favourite races are Strade Bianche and Paris-Roubaix and their favourite published article is from the 2024 edition of the latter: 'Unless I'm in an ambulance, I'm finishing this race' – Cyrus Monk, the last man home at Paris-Roubaix